Overcoming Fears that Limit Us

The fitness professional shares how you can let your fears motivate you.


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My husband and I rarely look forward to a season premiere on television but on August 7th we will happily set our recorder for the first episode of the last season of Monk.

We are the typical couple in our TV preferences. My husband is a bang, bang, shoot ’em up mystery guy and I am inclined to watch relationship-based dramas.

With Monk, we have the best of both worlds. Monk, a detective, is obsessive; with fears of everything from germs to milk and compulsive to the point he can become paralyzed by unaligned dinnerware. Ironically, his quirkiness provides the mechanism to solve the most unsolvable crimes.

Several supporting characters assist Mr. Monk, offering wet wipes for the germs and moral support for his fears. In the end, the world seems safer when Mr. Monk overcomes his fears and solves the case.

What rings so true about this TV show is that while most of us do not suffer to the extent of Mr. Monk, we all let our fears limit what we might attempt and what we might accomplish.

For instance, what I hear most commonly in my fitness classes is “I can’t do that.” The women in my senior fitness class say that to me every time I take out a new fitness toy like an aerobic step, a balance ball, or 9-pound weighted bars.

Their response is motivated by a mix of common fears—of hurting themselves, looking foolish, trying something new, or failing. But here’s the exciting thing. They are willing to test their limits, push at them and experiment.

Yesterday I told my senior fitness class that we were going to do burpees—a fantastic cardio and muscle-building move. I demonstrated the exercise in which you begin in a squat position, jump up as high as you can, and land back in a squat position. “I can’t do that,” I heard. Well, we did four—not bad at all for women in their 70s and 80s.

Here’s a picture of my senior fitness class after doing what they thought they could not do!

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Get more advice from Theresa!

Find all you need to know on whole-person wellness in Shaped by Faith.

Theresa is a former model and nationally certified fitness professional who teaches people to use their faith to inspire fitness and their fitness to strengthen their faith. She is the author of Shaped by Faith: 10 Secrets to Strengthening your Body & Soul, and two exercise DVDS: Pilates for the Soul

She and her husband, Robin, have seven children and live in Calhoun, Kentucky.

You can email her with any questions or concerns.

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